From the September-October 2016 issue of News & Letters
Only live human beings can recreate the revolutionary dialectic forever anew. And these live human beings must do so in theory as well as in practice. It is not a question only of meeting the challenge from practice, but of being able to meet the challenge from the self-development of the idea and of deepening theory to the point where it reaches Marx’s concept of the philosophy of revolution in permanence.
I am because we are and because we are I am.
The material from prisoners who are proponents of our human rights struggle is heartening. The emphasis has been on how to create a path forward. It is a serious grappling with that question. Taking on this question has consequences not only for us behind the prison walls, but also to humanity beyond the walls. There is a continuity and a discontinuity that is the substance of the question before us. Formulation of a path forward will be twofold, ideally a deep unification and, simultaneously the most practical path.
Let us not lose sight of what has enabled us to be liberated from the oppressive conditions of solitary confinement. It was the banner of our humanism that allowed the forging of a tremendous unification across the racial divides. Until the creation of the short corridor all of us surely thought it would be impossible. The absolute negativity of solitary confinement brought forth a new stage of cognition in each of us; humanism became much more than a rallying cry. The recognition of commonality existing in all of us gave rise to a transcendent quality of our social interactions. Others begun to notice our efforts. The demonstration of our social humanism became much more pronounced in the boldness and resoluteness of the Agreement to End Hostilities.
There is great potential in the humanism projected by us prisoners. Staying true to our humanism and deepening its development offers us the means to expand solidarity among the general prison population and simultaneously build our connections with people on the outside. Extending our humanism whenever and wherever possible on both sides of the prison walls allows for a creation of a bulwark against uneven development.
The connection our humanism has with the outside world is real. The present socio-economic reality, the perverse nature of oppressive capitalist social relations, has rendered a clear estrangement of humanity. Wherever one looks—be it prisons, households, communities, states and nations—the view is the same for the masses. The oppressed are striving to unleash their innate human potential against the inhumane forces of capital. Thus we are all engaged in the world struggle to totally uproot and eradicate the major contradictions between the haves and have-nots. In the very midst of the revolutionary struggle, the horizontal relationships born of spontaneity with kindred spirits create an opening for the deepening of humanism and the concrete foundational framework of the new society we want to establish.